The Role of the State in Economic Transformation: Comparing the Transition Experiences of Russia and China
David M. Kotz
This paper compares two radically different approaches to transforming an economic system based on central planning and state property into a capitalist system, the neoliberal transition strategy and the state directed transition strategy. Russia’s transition since 1992 is examined as an example of the neoliberal approach, while China’s transition since 1978 is analyzed as an example of the state directed approach. The primary explanation for China’s economically superior transition performance is located in the advantages of the state directed transition strategy. However, contradictions in a state directed transition strategy are identified which tend to promote an eventual shift toward a neoliberal strategy. JEL Categories: P27, P21, P52
transition, neoliberalism, state, Russia, China
This paper will examine the transition experiences of Russia and China, with the aim of drawing lessons about the relative effectiveness of the neoliberal and the state directed transition strategies. Section 2 considers Russia=s economic transition since 1992, which has been guided by the neoliberal strategy. Section 3 examines China=s economic experience since 1978, when it began a transition based on a different approach from the neoliberal one. Section 4 considers why, in countries that successfully pursue a state directed strategy, such as China, pressure builds up over time to shift to a neoliberal strategy. Section 5 offers concluding comments.
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